Tag Archives: Kansas Automobile Accident attorney

Kansas Automobile Accident Attorney Answers Your Questions on the Takata Airbag Recall

U.S. safety regulators are urging owners of vehicles involved in the Takata air bag recall to have their vehicles repaired.  Many have put off getting their cars fixed due to this series of recalls dating back to 2008.  The airbag recall now spans at least 7.8 million vehicles by 10 different automakers.  The threat posed by these defective airbags is great—they have been known to explode and spew deadly metal debris if they inflate in a crash.  Much confusion currently surrounds the recall, however, as it has just recently been drastically expanded.  The following are answers to some crucial questions surrounding the recalls:

Q:  How do I know if my car is among those recalled?

Most recalled vehicle owners will receive a notice in the mail.  If you have not received such a notice, or lost the notice, you can either visit the government’s website at safecar.gov or go to the maker of your automobile’s website.  Both these sites should allow you to enter your vehicle’s identification or VIN number to determine its recall status.  The government database site has experienced some technical difficulties in the wake of the recall, so at this time the automaker may be your best bet.

Q:  If my car is one of the recalled models, what should I do?

You should immediately contact a dealer for your vehicle and schedule a repair appointment.  Particularly if you live in an area of higher temperatures or humidity, you could be at serious risk.  Some automakers are currently experiencing long wait times due to part shortages.  Some individual makers are recommending you now allow passengers to sit in the front seat until the repair has been made.

Q:  How soon will my car be fixed?

It will depend upon your automaker.  Some automakers have plenty of the necessary replacement part, the airbag inflator, in stock.  For others, there will be a wait.  The government is pushing automakers to make quicker repairs and offer loaner vehicles to those who have to wait.

Q:  What will happen in the meantime?

This will also depend upon your automaker.  Some automakers, like Toyota, have disabled the passenger airbags and applied a warning sticker that no one should ride in the front passenger seat until the replacement has been installed.  BMW, on the other hand, is simply suggesting drivers not allow passengers to occupy the seat but has not taken more extreme measures to disable the device, which it believes has a low chance of abnormal deployment.

Contact Kansas City Automobile Accident Attorney Michael R. Lawless Today for a Free Consultation

The recent airbag recall has millions of drivers concerned about the possibility of injury or death due to their faulty vehicle.  Details are still emerging and all car owners are urged to take proactive measures to determine whether their vehicle is impacted by the recall.  If your vehicle may be defective and an accident has results, the Kansas Automobile Accident Attorney Michael R. Lawless of the Lenexa, Kansas law firm Michael R. Lawless, P.A. can help.  For over 27 years, Michael Lawless has assisted car accident victims injured across the state.    Michael Lawless is an experienced, knowledgeable, and dedicated personal injury attorney who will strive to obtain the recovery you deserve.  To schedule a free consultation to discuss your potential accident case, contact Michael R. Lawless, PA by calling our office locally at (913) 681-5566, or you may call us toll-free at (800) 734-3771.  You may also contact us online and we will respond to your inquiry as soon as possible.

 

Kansas Automobile Accident Attorney Reports: An Additional Three Million Vehicles May Have Defective Airbags

Recently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) urged that an additional three million vehicles may be in need of urgent repairs to prevent drivers and passengers from being injured or killed due to defective airbags.  This makes a total of 7.8 million vehicles that are part of a massive recalls of airbags manufactured by Takata.  At least four deaths are linked to the defective airbags.  These four individuals died when the inflator mechanisms within the defective Takata airbags ruptured, sending shooting metal fragments at the unsuspecting drivers and passengers.  Now, automobiles manufactured by Subaru and Mitsubishi have been added to the recall list.

The NHSTA has warned owners who live in warm states, including Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, Puerto Rico, parts of Texas, Guam, American Samoa, Virgin Islands, Saipan, and Hawaii to aggressively act on the recall notice. This is in part because studies show that extended exposure to high temperatures and humidity may be a factor in the airbag problem.

All car owners are urged to check their manufacturer’s website for recall information, as so many makes and models are involved. Thus far, several hundred thousand vehicles manufactured by BMW, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, and Toyota are included in the recall.  Model years range from 2001 to 2008.  As more information unfolds, it is likely other vehicles may be added to the list.

Thus far, the airbag recall has been met with much scrutiny.  Several senators and lawmakers criticized the NHSTA for its handling of the recall, demanded a broader recall, and called for a further accounting of how recalls were handled.  Initially, a recall in June included faulty airbags located in just two states, Florida and Hawaii, and two territories, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.  Honda then expanded the recall to include another 2.4 vehicles sold in other Southern states.

Humidity is believed to cause the faulty airbags to erupt, sending shrapnel into car occupants.  At least four deaths and more than 100 injuries are attributed to these rupturing airbags.  Senators expressed concern over the limited nature of the recall, as several other states are also home to much heat and humidity.  Their strong push was likely a major contributing factor in the NHSTA’s decision to expand the recall to include another 4.7 million vehicles nationwide.

Anyone with an affected vehicle should contact their automobile manufacturer as soon as possible.  There is currently a shortage of replacement parts and many owners of recalled vehicles are finding themselves lengthy periods of time.  Those on Capitol Hill are pushing for automakers to provide loaner cars to the car owners unable to receive an immediate repair.  Automakers have been reluctant thus far, but given the grave danger of the airbags all car owners should demand something so necessary.

Contact Kansas City Automobile Accident Attorney Michael R. Lawless Today for a Free Consultation

Millions of vehicles have been recalled thus far this year, leaving many drivers at risk of injury or death due to faulty cars.  If you have been involved in a car accident that may have been caused by a defective automobile, Kansas Automobile Accident Attorney Michael R. Lawless of the Lenexa, Kansas law firm Michael R. Lawless, P.A. can help.  For over 27 years, Michael Lawless has assisted car accident victims injured across the state.    Michael Lawless has the experience, dedication, and knowledge you need to obtain the recovery to which you are entitled.  To schedule a free consultation to discuss your potential accident case, contact Michael R. Lawless, PA by calling our office locally at (913) 681-5566, or you may call us toll-free at (800) 734-3771.  You may also contact us online and we will respond to your inquiry as soon as possible.

Kansas Automobile Accident Attorney Explains How Older, Unsafe Drivers are a Growing Problem

As our population continues to age, elderly drivers are becoming an ever increasing hazard to users of the roadways in Kansas and nationwide.  Studies show that after the age of 65, the fatality rates for drivers begin to climb.  From ages 75 to 84, the fatality rate among senior citizen drivers is actually the equivalent of that of teen drivers, a notoriously dangerous driving group.  When drivers reach the age of 85 and older, the fatality rate shoots up to four times that among teen drivers.

These statistics highlight an alarming problem that is only expected to get worse. The U.S. Census Bureau predicts that there will be 9.6 million people over the age of 85 by 2030.  Road safety experts project that by that year, elderly drivers will be responsible for 25% of all fatal crashes. This is a considerable increase from the current statistics that estimate seniors cause just 11% of all fatal crashes.

States across the country have taken note of the problem and are struggling to address it before the true boom of elderly drivers occurs. Several states have passed measures that require older citizens take more frequent vision and behind the wheel tests.  Kansas does not currently have any restrictions on the elderly. However, family members, law enforcement officers, and doctors can request that elders be re-tested if they pose a hazard to themselves or other drivers.

Thus far, research has demonstrated that the rate of senior crashes does diminish when seniors are forced to appear in person to renew their license and complete a road test.  Only two states, however, currently impose these restrictions.

Safety researchers are especially concerned with drivers over the age of 85, who are currently involved in three fatal crashes a day.  Over the years, much focus has been cast on teen drivers and ways to increase their safety.  This elderly population is actually far more dangerous than teens, yet little is being done to address the problem.

Normal aging is thought to contribute to the inability of some older Americans to drive safely.  Reflexes, memory, visual acuity, flexibility, and the ability to focus all decline with old age.  Further, many of the medications prescribed to seniors to treat a variety of ailments can make it more difficult to focus.

Studies show that elderly drivers are less likely to be involved in accidents involving alcohol or high speeds than other drivers.  They are more likely, however, to be involved in accidents at intersections, often when they miss a stop sign or turn left into oncoming traffic.  Side impact crashes have thus become known as old person’s crashes, in the same manner that rollover accidents are generally thought of as young person’s crashes.

Contact Kansas City Automobile Accident Attorney Michael R. Lawless Today for a Free Consultation

The Lenexa, Kansas Automobile Accident Attorney at the law firm of Michael R. Lawless, P.A. are concerned by recent statistics showing the dangers of senior citizen drivers on the road who do not have the eye sight, perception, or reflexes required to safely operate an automobile.   We support measures that would increase the safety of older drivers and other road users by ensuring elderly drivers are still safe on the road.  We will continue to fight for the recovery of accident victims injured in crashes caused by negligence as we have done for over 27 years.  To schedule a free consultation to discuss your potential accident case, contact Michael R. Lawless, PA by calling our office locally at (913) 681-5566, or you may call us toll-free at (800) 734-3771.  You may also contact us online and we will respond to your inquiry as soon as possible.

Understanding What Your Kansas Automobile Insurance Covers: Part II

Do you fully understand your car insurance policy?  Would you be covered in the event of an accident?  In Part I of our two part series, we began our look at some vital facts all drivers should be aware of concerning their car insurance.  In Part II, we continue our list with the hopes that after reading, you will re-examine your insurance policy to make sure it protects you and your family.

  1. Drivers you live with are not covered—this is an important caveat that many insurance holders are not aware of, and can come at significant costs.  If you loan your vehicle to a relative or friend and they are in an accident, your insurance will generally cover the collision just as it would if you were the driver.  However, if you loan that same vehicle to a relative or friend who resides in your household but is not included on the insurance policy, your insurance will not cover damages or injuries that arise in an accident involving that driver.  You must declare anyone living with you to the insurance company and either elect to add them to the policy or exclude them, and not allow them to drive the vehicle.  This policy exists to prevent safe drivers from essentially obtaining car insurance policies for risky drivers that they live with.  Accordingly, the insurance companies will only provide coverage for drivers listed on the policy and those that live outside the home and borrow the vehicle.
  2. Uninsured motorist coverage is extremely important—in the event you are in an accident with a motorist who lacks car insurance, uninsured motorist coverage will prove vital.  Many states require automobile insurance companies to offer you uninsured motorist coverage, but providers do not tell you how high-risk your state is.  Nationally, an alarming one in seven motorists lack car insurance.  In Kansas, 10% of all drivers lack insurance coverage.  Spare yourself the heartache of unpaid medical bills and property damage; call your insurer to make sure you have a sizable uninsured motorist policy in place.
  3. Your credit score will impact your rates—in Kansas, as in all states except Hawaii and California, your credit will be a major factor in determining your insurance rates.  Better credit equates to better rates.  Other variable factors include: gender, age, marital status, frequency of use of the vehicle, length of time driving, accident history, and safety features of the car, such as anti-lock brakes or airbags.
  4. Minimum liability varies greatly by state—states have the right to set their own minimum liability requirements, and these values can range drastically.  In Kansas, drivers must carry at least $25,000 for bodily injury per person, $50,000 for total bodily injury, and $10,000 for property damage.  Drivers must also carry personal injury protection and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Know your states minimums and be sure to obtain at least the minimums within 15 days of establishing residency.
  5. You may need specialized coverage—if you have a specialized ride, such as a motorcycle, collector car, or mobile home, you will likely require a specialized insurance policy.  Motorcycle policies generally have their own minimums

 Contact Kansas City Automobile Accident Attorney Michael R. Lawless Today for a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one has been involved in car accident, Michael R. Lawless is a Kansas Automobile Accident Attorney with more than 27 years of experience helping his clients receive the compensation they deserve.  Car accidents can lead to serious injuries or even death.  Victims can require months of time away from work and medical treatment.  For the victims of car accidents, medical expenses will quickly mount and accident victims should act fast to preserve their legal rights.  To schedule a free consultation to discuss your potential car accident case, contact Michael R. Lawless, PA by calling our office locally at (913) 681-5566, or you may call us toll-free at (800) 734-3771.  You may also contact us online and we will respond to your inquiry as soon as possible.

Understanding What Your Kansas Automobile Insurance Covers: Part I

Obtaining an automobile insurance policy is often overwhelming, confusing, and stressful.  There are so many carriers and countless options.  After obtaining quotes from several companies, most drivers will settle on coverage and faithfully make their payments, believing that in the event of an accident, they will be fully covered.  The shock comes after an accident occurs and automobile drivers uncover their property damage, damage to the other driver, or personal injuries are not covered by their insurance.  To avoid this potentially devastating experience, it is vital that every vehicle owner or driver understand what is covered by their automobile insurance—and what is not.  Following an accident, no driver wants to be left wondering who will cover their medical bills, how their car will get fixed, and what to do if the other driver does not have insurance.  Gaining a full understanding now as to what your coverage will avoid much confusion in the event you are in an accident.

Car insurance is complex and varies significantly from state to state, as well as policy to policy.  “Full coverage” means different things to different people and insurance companies.  Most companies offer dozens of polices that may not always match an individual’s definition of full coverage.  According to a study conducted by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, over half of all Americans do not know basic facts about car insurance and less than half feel confident making decisions about it.

The following is a list of the first two things you should know about how well your car is covered in the event of an accident.  Our list will continue in Part II of Understanding What Your Kansas Automobile Insurance Covers.

  1. Your rental car is covered…sort of—two out of every five automobile drivers express confusion over the purchase of rental car insurance.  According to the founder of Esurance, John-Bernard Duler, if you rent a vehicle, then get into an accident, the damage to the rental car should be covered by your regular automobile insurance.  However, expect to incur additional charges.  The rental company may charge you for the loss of the use of their vehicle which is not covered by insurance.  Further, your insurance might not pay the full value of the damaged rental vehicle.  Most policies will only provide compensation for either the actual value or the cost to repair, whichever is less.
  2. Car insurance covers the car, not its contents—thousands of automobile thefts occur each day across the U.S.  Comprehensive automobile insurance will compensate you if your car is stolen, but will not generally cover its stolen contents.  If the property taken is of specific use to the car, like a CD player, it might be covered.  If, however, a personal item, such as a laptop, was taken, this will not ordinarily be covered.

Contact Kansas City Automobile Accident Attorney Michael R. Lawless Today for a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one has been involved in car accident, Michael R. Lawless is a Kansas Automobile Accident Attorney with more than 27 years of experience helping his clients receive the compensation they deserve.  Car accidents can lead to serious injuries or even death.  Victims can require months of time away from work and medical treatment.  For the victims of car accidents, medical expenses will quickly mount and accident victims should act fast to preserve their legal rights. To schedule a free consultation to discuss your potential car accident case, contact Michael R. Lawless, PA by calling our office locally at (913) 681-5566, or you may call us toll-free at (800) 734-3771.  You may also contact us online and we will respond to your inquiry as soon as possible.

Tips for Staying Safe While Traveling in Kansas During the Summer Months

With summer rapidly approaching and kids soon out of school, many Kansas families are likely planning annual road trips to visit family, friends, or coveted destinations.  While road trips can provide a great means of transportation, saving families on pricey air fare and encouraging family bonding, they can present some dangers.  One problem is that many families across Kansas have the same idea—leading to sometimes clogged highways.  To avoid accidents, drivers must be cognizant of their own actions and those of drivers around you.

The following is a list of some safety tips that will help you avoid automobile accidents and stay safe while traveling during the summer months:

  • Minimize distraction—traveling with the family and pets can be hectic.  Long hours spent on the road can also lead the driver to talk on the phone or check emails and texts while driving.  In addition, all that time on the road will often equate to eating and drinking in the car.  It is important that you eliminate all of these distractions so that you can safely focus on the road ahead.  Put your co-pilot in charge of all phone calls and tending to children or pets, eat or drink only when your vehicle is parked, and always keep your eyes on the road.
  • Pack some maps—in our GPS reliant culture, most of us have long forgotten the days of maps.  However, when traveling across county and state lines, you may lose GPS service.  Pack a map so that you do not end up lost on a rural road.
  • Begin your journey well rested and relaxed—driving while excessively tired or stressed is dangerous for you and those around you.  According to some studies, tired driving is as hazardous as drunk driving.  Set off on your journey after a good night sleep and in a tranquil mood.
  • Check your vehicle—ensure all of your essential fluids, like oil, brake, and windshield fluid are full.  Make sure your tire pressure is correct, lights are working, AC is functioning, and brakes are in working order before getting underway.
  • Make sure all passengers are securely fastened—it is against the law to drive without a seatbelt, and it is extremely dangerous.  Make sure all adults and older children are properly buckled.  Younger children must be placed in an age appropriate car seat or booster seat.
  • Remain cognizant of the heat—never leave children unattended in the car as heat stroke can result and pack plenty of water for hydration.
  • Pack a first aid kit—you should pack a first aid kit in your vehicle in the event of an emergency.  It should include jumper cables, water, a flashlight, a jack, some non-perishable food, and any necessary medications.

Contact Kansas City Automobile Accident Attorney Michael R. Lawless Today for a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one has been involved in an automobile accident, Michael R. Lawless is a Kansas Automobile Accident attorney with more than 27 years of experience helping his clients receive the compensation they deserve.  Auto accident victims often sustain serious injuries in an accident, including head trauma, neck and back damage, broken limbs, and more.  Medical expenses will quickly mount and automobile accident victims should act fast to preserve their legal rights.  To schedule a free consultation to discuss your potential car accident case, contact Michael R. Lawless, PA by calling our office locally at (913) 681-5566, or you may call us toll-free at (800) 734-3771.  You may also contact us online and we will respond to your inquiry as soon as possible.